Friday, January 04, 2019

Klaw: Fieldhouse

Klaw, by W. L. Fieldhouse: Tower Books, 1980, 208 pages. 

I've known about this series for a while but had not read any. This is the first book in the series and seems pretty much an origin story. It's no secret, if you see the covers, that it features a gunfighter who has lost his hand and has a "claw" attachment for that arm. What might not be clear is that other things can be attached to the prosthesis as well, which allows him to shoot a gun and do other things. 

After starting this book, I had to check to make sure that W. L. Fieldhouse was not a pseudonym for Terry Harknett, who wrote the infamous "Edge" series under the name George G. Gilman. He's not, but it seems clear to me that the Klaw series was modeled after the Edge series. There's the same gory brutality to the shooting scenes, the frequent use of the phrase "feller," and even the same kind of wisecracking chapter endings that identify the Edge series. 

There are some differences, however. Klaw, originally identified as John Klawson, is a more sensitive fellow than Edge, at least throughout this first book. There's also some actual sex. Edge often has the opportunity to engage in sex but generally does not. In this book, Klaw actually develops a strong attraction to a woman and there is a fairly lengthy sex scene. Klaw is also driven by a higher moral code than Edge, who is primarily driven simply by the urge to survive. Klaw seeks justice. 

According to sources I could find, there are three books in the Klaw series. #2 is called "Town of Blood" and #3 is "The Rattler Gang." Fieldhouse has also written a number of other books, some under his own name, as well as for the Executioner and other men's adventure series. I couldn't find much more information on Fieldhouse, although he appears to still be living. I don't know how early this book was in his career.

As for the book itself, I was actually not enamored of the opening section. There seemed to be a lot of exposition and summarizing, and the constraints of setting up the "origin" piece for the character. However, the story quickly took off and became an enjoyable, action oriented romp. The character is more engaging than Edge and much easier to root for. Overall, I thought it was quite a lot of fun. And I know that all three Klaw books are available from Rough Edges Press: The books are also available on Amazon 

Monday, December 31, 2018

End of 2018 Blog

2018 was a helluva year. It was the year my blog nearly died. I made only 20 posts this year. I used to posts 100s, but, partly out of laziness and partly out of how the platforms change, I did almost all my social media activities on facebook this year. It’s easy to waste time on facebook, but there are also numerous groups of likeminded readers and writers that can provide both entertainment and information. Plus, promotional activities there are generally seen by many more folks than on a blog.

2018 was also the year that I almost died. I had a heart attack in August, caused by a primary artery that was 100 percent blocked. Apparently, this blockage is commonly called “the widowmaker” because most people who have heart attacks from this source die. I’d like to think surviving it means I’m tough, but it probably just means I’m lucky. I went through several months of cardiac rehab and my recovery efforts are certainly not completed, but I’m feeling pretty good and in better shape than I was before the attack. I will continue my rehabbing in 2019. I don’t want to have that feeling again.

I played more Skyrim (Video Game) in 2018 than in most previous years, but I also read a lot, particularly at the end of the year after my heart attack. Those who follow this blog know I count my “reading year” through my birthday. Between October 14, 2017 and October 14, 2018, I read 106 books. According to Goodreads, I read 131 books in 2018, which is my highest total ever on Goodreads. Quite a few of those were by Harlan Coben, who moved up to #39 on my all time book total list after just 2 years of reading his stuff. However, there’s always a little bit of everything on my list.

As for writing, despite certain interruptions it was a fairly productive year for me. I wrote about 40,000 words of new fiction (includes poetry) intended for publication, and most of it has already been published with a few other pieces schedule for 2019. The biggest news was the publication of “The Scarred One,” my first western novel (under the Tyler Boone name). I was very happy to have this happen and my thanks to the fine folks at Sundown Press—Cheryl Pierson and Livia J. Washburn.

Half a dozen short stories also came out under the Tyler Boone name in 2018, and I had stories published in some really fine anthologies, including Unsheathed, Twilight Echoes, and Doorbells at Dusk. And I had stories appear in such fine magazines as Sirens Call, Night to Dawn, Pen of the Damned, and Beneath the Rainbow.

Although I didn’t do much writing in the first couple of months after my heart attack, I’ve been back at it for the past couple of weeks and am happy with the stuff coming out on the screen. Best of all, my mind is churning with ideas again. That’s probably the most enjoyable part. And so, I leave you with a hearty farewell to 2018 and a welcome to 2019. I hope the new year treats us all well!

Friday, November 09, 2018

Tyler Boone Rides Again

I’m very excited to announce that my first full-length western, and the first novel under my penname, Tyler Boone, is ready for release from Sundown Press. It’s called The Scarred One.  Many thanks to Cheryl Pierson and Livia J. Washburn for their consideration and support, and for outstanding work in the editing, cover, and formatting arenas.

There will be both a print and a kindle edition of The Scarred One. The kindle edition is available now for preorder, although it won’t be delivered until November 13. It’s at a good price too, only $2.99.  If you have any interest in the book, a preorder would be nice for both me and the publisher. I will eventually be having a few signings for the book in my local area. That is Southern Louisiana, and maybe I’ll try to get up Arkansas way next summer. These will be announced ahead of time, of course.

I grew up reading westerns and remain a huge fan of the genre today. It’s an honor for me to follow in the footsteps of such greats as Louis L’Amour, Max Brand, Zane Grey, Lewis B. Patten, Gordon D. Shirreffs, Will Henry, Luke Short, and even Robert E. Howard. Below is the blurb for The Scarred One. I hope it intrigues and tempts you. I’d love for you to read this story.

Scarred by a mysterious fire that killed his parents when he was seven, Trenton Banning grew up in a San Francisco orphanage. Ten years later he fled to the freedom of the Rocky Mountains. Now, he’s come to the town of Sun Falls, Wyoming, where a silver strike has triggered a boom. He isn’t after riches, though. He’s there for Jonathan Hunsinger, a ruthless businessman who may know something about the fire that orphaned Banning. 

Hunsinger has a beautiful daughter, Elizabeth. That complicates things for Banning. And after an attempt is made on his life, he realizes that someone is willing to kill to protect Jonathan Hunsinger’s secrets. There are plenty of suspects; Elizabeth is one. Besides trying to stay alive and solve a decade-old mystery, the young mountain man now has to wonder—is Elizabeth the woman of his dreams, or the architect of his nightmares?

Saturday, November 03, 2018


Scott Harris was kind enough to interview me about both reading and writing westerns. I had a few things to say. Check it out here

Thursday, October 18, 2018

My Year In Books

Since my way of figuring out my reading year is a bit different, I always explain in these blog posts. I count my reading year through my birthday. It starts October 14 and ends October 13 of the following year.

This year, I had a very good year, totaling 106 books read. This is up from a low of 67 last year.  A main reason for the change is that I eased up on some of my academic workload this year, and then I had an extended period after my heart attack where reading was about all I could do.  Six of these were also graphic novels, which was up from 0 last year and which do not take long to read.

I also classify my books by genre. One major change this year was my westerns going from 6 to 14. That's partially because I was writing my own western through much of the year and tend to like to read in the genre I'm writing in. The biggest change, though, was in mystery/thriller, which went from 14 to 19. The primary reason here was my discovery of Harlan Coben.  I binged on his books to the tune of 12.

Fantasy at 12 and SF at 11 continued to be staples for me. Poetry stayed about the same, at 5 versus 4 for last year. My nonfiction reading (not counting articles and essays but books only) has remained at 7 for the past three year.

Bizarre as it may seem, I also keep an average book-read stat. Figuring that I started reading actual books around the age of seven, I've averaged 80 a year for the past 53 years. I've only been keeping detailed records since 1987 but in that time my best reading year was 95-96 with 126 books read. The worst year was 2001-2002 with only 49. I had eleven straight years when I read at least a 100. I remember being disappointed when I dropped below that number one year to end the streak but it was because of family health issues.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Hard Loss for Us All

On September 29, a young woman of my acquaintance killed herself. I had not met her in real life but that doesn’t mean I didn’t know her. We had been friends on facebook for several years and had corresponded frequently. I had learned about her life, her pups, her house, her job, her fears and hopes.

Amanda was kind-hearted, intelligent, principled. She worked with animals and loved them. She had much to offer the world, but the world didn’t seem to want it. Not the whole world, certainly. She had friends and people who cared about her. But I believe she felt that there wasn’t a place for her in the world. It is not for me to address the reasons why she might have felt this way. I know others with the same reasons who also suffer.

On the day of the act, she posted a short message on facebook to say goodbye. Despite the fact that people responded within fifteen minutes and the police were called, it was too late. I did not find that out until late evening, and now my heart hurts. I wish the world had been better for her.

All I can say is, be kind to each other. One thing I try to ask myself when I make judgements about people from some brief interaction with them, or from just knowing their opinion about some particular issue, is: “What if you’re wrong?” “What if that’s not who they really are inside?” I don’t always succeed in doing this and certainly wish I was much better at it. But I do know, Kindness Matters!